Network Utilities -- Copyright Search

The user owns or controls a group of computers on a network. The user wants to control all the computers as a single entity. The user may buy complete NetAlive applications or develop them himself. When developing an application, NetAlive becomes a graphical command language. Either way, the user runs an application from the local computer. The application affects the local computer and other computers under the user's control.

The figure below shows this using iconography developed previously. Specifically, users may develop NetAlive programs themselves. When running, the NetAlive program affects a variety of computers under the user's control.

Security is not a concern because the user controls all the computers in use. We presume the user has all the necessary passwords, etc.

Range of Uses

Data Manipulation

The user moves or manipulates information on several computers. The user uses the NetAlive tool as a command language. This adds value because it provides a high-level platform for controlling an entire network.

Example: A system administrator needs to verify that their company is not using more copies of a software product than they have licenses. License terms vary, so the systems administrator must make a unique configuration of software tasks for this purpose. The NetAlive GUI lets the user control the specifics of the application and report the results.

Example

Example: The application displays a list of all hosts under control of the user in "hosts to search." This display is a "multiple-select list box," so the user may pick as many as they like. The application scans the hard disks on the specified hosts and sorts and merges the results into the "inventory" display. The application stores the inventory in a temporary disk file, computes changes in inventory from one run to the next, and displays the result in the "inventory changes" display. (The screen was "snapped" during disk search. The red borders indicate "pending change.")

Technical

The figure below shows NetAlive implementing a copyright search application. Functional task "Computers" produces a list of the computers under the user's control. The user can configure this task from a palette of tasks getting this information from a file, via system calls enumerating computers on the local network, etc. The list of computers goes into the "Hosts to search" listbox. This widget task lets the user select a subset of the hosts under his control for searching. The connection to "Acquire all files" goes to the 7 o'clock input. NetAlive designates this input for address inputs, thus Acquire all files runs on the computer selected by the user. Acquire all files can scan the disk for files of a particular type, or may be switched with any task performing a useful function. If the user wants to put a C-type program into Acquire all files, NetAlive will compile it on remote hosts if necessary. The application reduces the raw information from all hosts to a single file and processes it initially through functional task "Generate inventory." The built-in version of the task sorts and counts duplicates, but the user may substitute other functions. The raw data gets initially stored in task "inventory." This task is of the "state monitor" type. A state monitor displays data received, but also stores new data into a file and copies old data to output. The effect is that the output of state monitor is the result of the previous time the application was run. Task "Difference in inventory" has two inputs with the current and previous inventories. Its job is to compute differences between the two inventories. Its result goes to widget task "inventory changes."

NetAlive's features and benefits

Controls a whole network of computers

Feature: NetAlive controls a whole network just as a command language controls one computer.
Benefit: Maintain order as IS facilities decentralize.

Integrated design tool

Feature: NetAlive includes a design tool.
Benefit: Systems administrators can use NetAlive for tasks previously requiring a programmer.

Handles porting and compiling

Feature: Where programming is required, NetAlive handles porting and compiling.
Benefit: Automates an activity previously skill-and labor-intensive.

Secure

Feature: Piggybacks on emerging Internet security and authorization features.
Benefit: Secure against intrusion by hackers.


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